nexussmWhen a Canadian citizen, Canadian permanent resident, U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident completes a NEXUS Program application form, the application is vetted by both the United States government and the Canadian government. The United States Department of Homeland Security (U.S Customs and Border Protection) (“USCBP”) vets the NEXUS application and the Canada Border Services Agency (“CBSA”) also vets the NEXUS application. Other governmental departments are also consulted. Either the United States or Canada may reject an application for whatever reason.  The United States government and the Canadian government have discretion to approve or reject anyone into the NEXUS trusted traveler program.  In both countries, courts have been deferential to the government decision makers.

The NEXUS application form seeks background information from the application, such as addresses for the last 5 years, employment history for the last 5 year, travel history, details about criminal charges & convictions, details about customs infractions, details about immigration infractions, etc.  This information is vetted by the United States and Canadian governments.

After an application is vetted, the applicant may attend at a USCBP/CBSA office and attend an in-person interview.  Questions are asked by both USCBP and CBSA officers. The applicant is always asked about criminal charges, arrests and convictions during the interview.  Provisionally approved applications can be rejected by the USCBP/CBSA officers at the interview because of answers provided or the discretion of the officer.  If an application is approved during the interview, USCBP and the CBSA photograph the applicant, collect finger prints and a biometric scan of the person’s iris (eye).

Every 5 years, a NEXUS Card holder must renew his/her NEXUS Membership and provide detailed information.  Further, every time a NEXUS Card Member’s relevant documentation changes (e.g., a new passport, new permanent residency card, a citizenship card, a new driver’s license), the new document number must be reported to the NEXUS Program and the computerized records updated.  Similarly, if the NEXUS Member changes his/her residential address or employer, the information must be updated in the NEXUS computerized records. The vetting process is ongoing.

Vetting is an important element of the NEXUS Program.  This is because NEXUS Members are allowed to use alternative methods to present themselves to USCBP and the CBSA when entering the United States and Canada.  Both countries have automated NEXUS or GOES kiosks. However, at any time, a NEXUS Member can be selected for secondary screening by the NEXUS/GOES kiosk, a USCBP or CBSA officer at the NEXUS/GOES lane at the primary inspection area, in the baggage claim area of airports, or at point (which is at the exit of the customs controlled area).

The CBSA has posted Frequently Asked Questions about the NEXUS Program and rules. USCBP has posted eligibility requirements and the CBSA has also posted eligibility requirements for the NEXUS Program.

For more information about the NEXUS Program and appealing confiscations, cancellations, suspensions and revocations of NEXUS Cards, please contact Cyndee Todgham Cherniak at 416-307-4168 or Cyndee@lexsage.com.  LexSage has posted articles about NEXUS on the LexSage website.